78 PART X: USE AND ADAPTATION OF SCRIPTS
Europe's Uralic literary languages, Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian, all have high
and mid front rounded vowels, Finnish and Estonian also [ae], represented ortho-
graphically by an umlaut — except that Finnish, like Swedish, uses y rather than u. Al-
though archaic and rural varieties of standard Hungarian distinguish low and mid
front unrounded vowels, they are not distinguished orthographically (or in current ur-
All three languages have distinctive vowel and consonant length. Consonant
length is shown by doubling the consonant (or the first element of a digraph in Hun-
garian, e.g. ssz for long sz [s]). Doubling is also used for vowel length in Finnish and
Estonian; but Hungarian uses an acute accent, and combines umlaut and acute to give
the distinctive diacritic in 6 it.
Estonian has a distinction between light and heavy stressed syllables, involving
a combination of tenseness, segment length, and pitch, but this is usually not shown
orthographically. However, for long intervocalic obstruents (except [s]) Estonian
writes /?, t, k,f, s in light stressed syllables, mdpp, tt, kk,ff, ss in heavy stressed syl-
lables, e.g. kapi [kappi] 'cupboard (genitive)', kappi ["kappi] 'cupboard (illative)',
where ["] symbolizes heavy stress. The short obstruents are written b 9 d, g, z word-
table 59.20: Finnish Alphabet
) c [v]
a. The following are not considered separate
letters of the alphabet:
NG ng [rjrj]
(S, Sh s, sh [J])
b. g has the value [g] only in unassimilated
c. w is not treated as distinct from v for pur-
poses of alphabetical ordering.
medially and -finally (short [f] does not occur here), but p, t, k, /, s word-initially, as
in kabi [kapi] 'hoof .
Finnish uses the digraph ng to represent [rj] (which occurs only long and intervo-
calically, other than through assimilation of /n/ to a following velar), this being the
only use of g in native words.
Estonian has an extra vowel [y], written 3, and also has phonemically distinct
(pre-)palatalized [t j ], [n j ], [s j ], and [l j ] in very restricted environments, the palataliza-
tion not being shown orthographically.
Hungarian has a more complicated consonant inventory, including palatals and
affricates, and like Polish it makes widespread use of digraphs: [ts] is represented by
c, as in most central and eastern European languages. A digraph with y represents a
palatal in the case of gy [f], ty [c], ny [p]; ly originally represented a palatal lateral, but
has now merged with [j]. A digraph with s represents a palatal in the case of cs [tj]
and zs . Among the voiceless fricatives, Hungarian has s for [J] but the digraph sz
for [s] — a unique distribution among the modern languages of central and eastern Eu-
rope, but one found elsewhere in earlier periods. All languages have basically non-
phonemic stress, though Estonian has exceptions in words of foreign origin; stress is
not indicated orthographically. Finnish and Estonian show Scandinavian influence in
placing the special vowel letters at or near the end of the alphabet.
Samples of Uralic languages
Kesainen sade a rapisee parekattoon. a Raystaan
2. Transcription: 'kesaeinen 'sader 'rapise: 'paerek.kattoin 'raeystaein
3. Gloss: summery rain patters into.shingle.roof of .eaves
/. alta seinanrakoisista kay hienoinen
2. alta 'seinaen,rakoisista 'kaey 'hienoinen
j. from.under from.wall.cracks comes gentle
1. hamahakinverkot katto-orsissa
2. 'haemaehaekin.verkot 'katto.orsissa
j. cobwebs in.roof.poles
swing and sway
/. varpuset kayvat hyppimassa katolla. Hamaralla ullakolla vallitsee
2. Varpuset 'kaeyvaet 'hyppimaessae "katolla 'haemaeraellae 'ullakolla 'vallitse:
3. sparrows come hopping on.roof dark on.garret reigns
)82 PART X: USE AND ADAPTATION OF SCRIPTS
'The summer rain patters onto the shingle roof. From under the eaves a gentle
draft comes through the cracks in the wall and the spiders' webs swing and
sway on the roof-poles. Sometimes sparrows come hopping on the roof. A mys-
terious atmosphere reigns in the dark garret.'
— Veikko Huovinen, "Havukka-ahon ajattelija" [The thinker ofHavukka-aho],
in Ravila 1965: 135.
a The words sade [sade], [sade?] 'rain' and pare [paere], [paere?] 'shingle' ended historically (and still for some
speakers) in a glottal stop; for all speakers, they geminate a following consonant, as in sade rapisee and
Benko, Lorand, and Imre Sanhu.
Practica 134). The Hague
Galdi, Laszlo, et al., comp. 197
Kurman, George. 1968. The
Uralic and Altaic Series
Lehikoinen, Laila, and Silva Kjiuru
ish]|. Helsinki: Helsingin
Ravila, Paavo. 1965. Finnish
Sulkala, Helena, and Merja
Tauli, Valter. 1973. Standard
(Acta Universitatis Upsal
eds. 1972. The Hungarian Language (Janua Linguarum Series
Mouton; Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.
Petofi-szotdr [Petofi dictionary], vol. 1. Budapest: Akademiai Ki-
Development of Written Estonian (Indiana University Publications
. Bloomington: Indiana University; The Hague: Mouton.
1989. Kirjasuomen kehitys [The development of written Finn-
Yliopiston Suomen Kielen Laitos.
Literary Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press; The Hague:
ainen. 1992. Finnish. London: Routledge.
Estonian Grammar, part I : Phonology, Morphology, Word- Formation
iensis, Studia Uralica et Altaica Upsaliensia8). Uppsala.
Peter T. Daniels